Lights issue

Kelson

New Member
Original poster
Joined
Jan 11, 2024
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Location
Washington
Hello everyone, I just got my first tj (1998) on Friday last week when I got it the headlights were finicky they would sometimes go on first try and sometimes it would take quite a few try’s but once they were on all the other lights would work (dash lights, reverse lights/ taillights) so I decided to replace the switch. I didn’t have the battery unplugged when I tryed to plug the switch back in ( I know dumb mistake I thought I had it unplugged) I ended up replacing the switch connector aswell now the dash lights turn on sometimes if I play with the switch a little but turn off as soon as I turn on the headlights the dash lights turn off. I also have no reverse or taillights working, not sure what to do or what might have screwed up. Any help is greatly appreciated if there is any info I can give to help out let me know
 
Welcome to the Forum. Others will have better insight than I do, but I wonder if you have a bad ground somewhere.

Instead of sending @Kelson to the FSM, does anyone know where he might find his ground wires for headlights and dash?
 
I'd most certainly start with cleaning the battery terminals and making sure they're tight. Might want to get the battery tested too since it's history is unknown to you.

There's a big ground wire on the firewall between the battery and valve cover.

There are two small ones to check under both speaker covers...remove the small torx screws and pull off the panel to the rear of the Jeep...two remaining metal snaps/clips.

Headlight switches are inexpensive. There's a release button on top of the switch to allow you to fully pull the knob/shaft off... that's the big secret to replacement. And sometimes pulling and reinserting the knob/shaft fixed things.

-Mac
 
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I'd most certainly start with cleaning the battery terminals and making sure they're tight. Might want to get the battery tested too since it's history is unknown to you.

There's a big ground wire on the firewall between the battery and valve cover.

There are two small ones to check under both speaker covers...remove the small torx screws and pull off the panel to the rear of the Jeep...two remaining metal snaps/clips.

Headlight switches are inexpensive. There's a release button on top of the switch to allow you to fully pull the knob/shaft off... that's the big secret to replacement. And sometimes pulling and reinserting the knob/shaft fixed things.

-Mac

I will check ground wires when I get home tonight, the battery is new. Im hoping it’s a simple fix and not some bigger electrical issue
 
There was a post here not too long ago where someone replaced their switch 3 times and they were all junk from AutoZone. If you pull the switch out and then move the stem around and your lights come on or go off that's a sure sign the switch is bad. Many of us here prefer to use Mopar parts when possible, I put in a Mopar switch a couple months ago and all is good.
 
There was a post here not too long ago where someone replaced their switch 3 times and they were all junk from AutoZone. If you pull the switch out and then move the stem around and your lights come on or go off that's a sure sign the switch is bad. Many of us here prefer to use Mopar parts when possible, I put in a Mopar switch a couple months ago and all is good.

Is there a site for Mopar parts all that pops up when I search is autozone and exterme terrain
 
I'd most certainly start with cleaning the battery terminals and making sure they're tight. Might want to get the battery tested too since it's history is unknown to you.

There's a big ground wire on the firewall between the battery and valve cover.

There are two small ones to check under both speaker covers...remove the small torx screws and pull off the panel to the rear of the Jeep...two remaining metal snaps/clips.

Headlight switches are inexpensive. There's a release button on top of the switch to allow you to fully pull the knob/shaft off... that's the big secret to replacement. And sometimes pulling and reinserting the knob/shaft fixed things.

-Mac

All grounds that I checked are good ( headlights, speakers, the one by the battery. Is there any other grounds that I should check?
 
Update:
Everything works but dash lights and taillights. I have break lights and turn signals in the rear but as soon as I stop breaking or turn the turn signal off the light goes off not sure what to do from here?
 
Update:
Everything works but dash lights and taillights. I have break lights and turn signals in the rear but as soon as I stop breaking or turn the turn signal off the light goes off not sure what to do from here?

Should I still go with a new switch or is this another issue?
 
I'd start with another headlight switch and you may want to look at your multifunction switch... that's the one thats the stalks for turn signals and wipers. At the very least look at the wiring connector and check for melting and corrosion.

-Mac
 
I'd start with another headlight switch and you may want to look at your multifunction switch... that's the one thats the stalks for turn signals and wipers. At the very least look at the wiring connector and check for melting and corrosion.

-Mac

Sounds good thank you so much for your help I really appreciate it!
 
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Did a Quick Look at them none of them look burnt. Any specific ones I should check

Fuses should be checked individually with a multi meter. There are fuses behind the glove box as well as in the PDC under the hood. The actual headlights use a circuit breaker which consists of a bimetallic strip inside the headlight switch assembly on your vintage, which will open when overheated due to a short and will close once cooled.
 
Should I still go with a new switch or is this another issue?

Update:
Everything works but dash lights and taillights. I have brake lights and turn signals in the rear but as soon as I stop braking or turn the turn signal off the light goes off not sure what to do from here?

Check for power at the tail light socket. If you have it there, try removing the mounting screws and cleaning them and the mounting holes to make sure that your ground there is good. Another thought: does your Jeep have guards over the tail lights? Those are infamous for causing ground problems.